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UVA Health hospitals connect in telehealth partnership to provide care for premature babies

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A new telehealth connection between the experts in UVA Health Prince William Medical Center’s 12-bed, Level III neonatal intensive care unit and UVA Health Children’s experts in Charlottesville will ensure seamless, world-class care for premature babies.

“This new connection at Prince William Medical Center enables a second opinion whenever our team might need it,” Dr. Zan Zaidi, UVA Community Health’s chief medical officer, said. “Our NICU patients and families will now have real-time access to pediatric specialists at UVA Health Children’s. This is unusual for a community hospital and will allow us to seamlessly coordinate care and enhance the patient and family experience for some of our most vulnerable patients.”

Dr. Jagadish Elumalai is the medical director of neonatology for Prince William Medical Center’s Level III NICU and said the new, secure technology will make it easier for his expert team to consult with specialists at UVA Health Children’s, which is ranked as the No. 1 children’s hospital in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report – across various specialized areas of neonatology, including pediatric cardiology, infectious disease, endocrinology, nephrology and urology as well as other specialties.

The new tool is also a vital link for connecting specialists with the families of the babies in the NICU to help build trust and ensure parents understand and are involved in their baby’s care plan, Elumalai said. “It’s important for the parents to be able to talk directly with the specialists from UVA Health Children’s,” he said.

“This is a great example of why we chose to fully integrate the medical centers and clinics in Prince William, Haymarket and Culpeper with the technology and services of the rest of the UVA Health system,” Dr. K. Craig Kent, UVA Health’s chief executive officer and executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Virginia, said. “Expanding our capacity to care for patients with the most complex needs across Virginia is a key driver of our strategy, and it leads to wins like this—families receiving excellent care at UVA Health Prince William Medical Center’s Level III NICU will now have direct telehealth access to highly subspecialized experts in Charlottesville without having to leave their local community.”

The UVA Health Prince William Medical Center labor and delivery department typically delivers 1,800 to 2,000 babies annually. The Level III NICU admitted 212 babies in 2023.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.